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Palestinian prisoners

The war for ‘The New York Times’


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A war has begun for the soul of The New York Times.

People in the Palestinian solidarity movement criticize the Times all the time — we do; the glass is always half empty — but then so do supporters of Israel. The glass is also half-empty for them. And something you may not have noticed lately is that we are beginning to have victories. There are people at The New York Times who fully comprehend Israel’s crisis and want the newspaper to reflect that reality. They are digging in, and they are under attack. But they are having little victories.

Consider:

— Jodi Rudoren is gone. She was the last New York Times bureau chief in Jerusalem and came out of a firmly Zionist background and could be counted on to offer a warm, fuzzy, pro-Israel slant to any story that was often embarrassing. Even the human rights atrocities of Gaza could be spun by Rudoren (“sliver of opportunity“). She has been replaced by Ian Fisher, who seems like a fair, open-minded reporter who is probably right now in shock at what he is seeing. His hunger strikers piece yesterday was very good. His piece on Banksy’s new hotel — Fisher’s emphasis was the “ugly” wall. Anyone who tells it like he sees it is going to help Palestinians.

— Yesterday the Times International edition ran Marwan Barghouti’s piece saying that Israel is a “moral and political failure.” We know we slammed the Times for burying this piece in the international edition in our dudgeon yesterday. But the amazement is that it ran at all — Barghouti’s explanation that 40 percent of the male Palestinian population has been in Israeli prisons, that his son jailed in the years that Americans go to college, and these prisons are the cradle of a global anti-colonial movement . . . Yes, the piece has come under enormous attack. Israelis including the prime minister are expressing outrage that it ran at all. To the point that the backsliders of the New York Times have appended a clarification filling in what Barghouti was convicted of. “The article . . . neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization . . .” Etc.

Actually, the many Nelson Mandela references were sufficient context; Mandela was also charged with terrorism, the ANC did use violence. But it is a measure of the war that the Times is in that Michael Oren became unhinged over the newspaper’s role:

Shame on NYT for printing libelous op-ed by convicted killer Barghouti, the Palestinian Dylann Roof. Americans would be horrified. So are we

Crazy, yes. But Oren’s right about one thing: the Times is now in play. And where it goes, everyone else will follow.

— Yes, you say: the New York Times hired neoconservative crank Bret Stephens as an op-ed columnist the other day, a great setback to the discourse; Stephens has a long track record of racist statements. But while editorial page editor James Bennet’s announcement was fulsome (“beautiful,” “profound,” “bravery,” “generous,” “thoughtful”), it contained this important signal:

We read this as a sign that a pro-Palestinian columnist is coming, maybe even an anti-Zionist. Bennet knows exactly what Zaid Jilani is saying at the Intercept and what we have been saying here about the Times‘s conservative pro-Israel range. David Brooks’s son served in the Israeli military, for god’s sakes. The Times is getting battered by young people on the left for the fact that Roger Cohen and Tom Friedman’s weary Zionism is the best it has to offer to critics.

And bear in mind, if you’re pro-Israel, you have seen a deficit. Where is the firebreather to replace AM Rosenthal, William Safire and Bill Kristol? Well, you just got Stephens. The Times is in play.

— There is further evidence of the Times-at-war in the pushback to Stephens from within the Times ranks. (Michael Calderone reported on this at Huffpo.) Declan Walsh, the paper’s Cairo bureau chief, tweeted the following over the weekend:

Max Fisher, the Times “interpreter,” promptly expanded the thought:

Bret Stephens became defensive about the criticism and slung some more anti-Arab horseshit.

There was a time when journalists at a major newspaper were careful not to criticize that paper publicly. Those days are over, thanks to the internet. Two Times reporters are peeved at the racism of a colleague. They surely speak for many more. (Some of whom read Yakov Hirsch pointing out this racism first, last year: “The Politics of Jewish Ethnocentrism.”)

There was a time when the New York Times was a reliable supporter of Israel. A.M. Rosenthal and Max Frankel begat Ethan Bronner and Jodi Rudoren. We say those days are coming to an end. The shift in American discourse on the Palestinian issue that Bernie Sanders reflected a year ago is happening deep inside the Times too. Younger writers are woke on this question. They’re not going to just shut up about it. The neocons are also digging in. But the coverage is getting better . . . the coverage is getting better. Glass half full.

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/04/the-york-times/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=04957f876b-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-04957f876b-309259350&mc_cid=04957f876b&mc_eid=39adaa9ab6#sthash.pSLErpIS.dpuf

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Miko Peled : It’s Personal.

Miko Peled

As thousands of Palestinian political prisoners jailed by Israel are going through a hunger strike, we would do well to delve into the deeper, more personal and historical aspects of Palestine.  Though the politics and violence of settler colonialism have determined its fate for almost one hundred years, Palestine is not just a “case” or an “issue,” it’s personal. My dear, dear friend Nader Elbanna said to me a long time ago, “The Palestinian tragedy is more than just losing the house and the land.”  None of us will ever fully understand Palestine, none of us who are not Palestinian, that is, because it is personal. But there are ways to learn. Visiting Palestine is a good start. Living in Palestine is good too and learning Arabic affords a glimpse. Reading Ghassan Kanafani’s stories is moving and enlightening.

 

Ghassan Kanafani, in his short stories presents an intensely personal narrative and paints a picture that is painfully detailed. In one of his short stories, a young man asks, “would you like to hear about my life?” and he proceeds to describe a mother who died under the ruins of a house in Safed, the house that was built for her by her husband. He describes the father, now working in another part of the Arab World and unable to see his children, and a brother “learning humiliation” in an UNRWA school. In another short story Kanafani describes a father who is standing in the rain leaning on a broken shovel, taking a break from the back- breaking work of digging a ditch in the rain. He is digging in an effort to stop the rain water from flooding a tent where his family, now refugees, must live. He is cold, tired and hungry but avoids going inside the tent, not wanting to see his wife’s glare, knowing she blames him for the inevitable state of being unemployed and unable to provide for his family. Seeing his child wear a torn, old shirt he contemplates taking part in a scam operation, stealing bags of rice from the UNRWA storage facility and selling them on the black market. “The guard is in on it and for a small fee he will look the other way,” he is told by a man of whose morals he does not approve, and whose very presence makes him uneasy.

The occupation of Palestine is not only about the brutality that is inherent in settler colonialism but the daily, painful existence of a nation that is denied the right to live in the land to which it belongs. A nation forced to live in abject poverty in camps that are unfit for humans and which exist just hours away from the land and the homes from which they were kicked out. A land for which they have the deeds, and homes for which they still hold the keys now inhabited by Jewish settlers. “For us, to liberate our country is as essential as life itself” Kanafani says to an Australian reporter in a rare interview in English. He is fierce and forthright, sitting in his office, with photos of Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh behind him.

But Palestinians are permitted only to be victims or terrorists, never freedom fighters or heroes. If Palestinians wrote “Live Free or Die” on a license plate they will be accused of terrorism and locked up, deported or simply killed, though in New Hampshire it is the official motto. Ironically, Israeli children learn about a legendary Jewish hero who, having been killed in battle in Palestine said, “it is good to die for one’s country” though clearly, he was fighting to take the country of others. Kanafani was brutally murdered, along with his young niece Lamees who was only seventeen, for saying and doing just that – fighting to liberate his country. Since his assassination by Israel almost half a century ago, countless Palestinians were killed by Israel, some fighting, most while sleeping in their beds or trying to flee.

Kanafani talks about “them,” the “Yahud” the Zionists who colonized Palestine and exiled his people, turning them into “people with no rights, with no voice.” “They have put enormous efforts into trying to melt me,” he writes, “Like a sugar cube in cup of tea.” And he talks about “You” the Arab authorities under whom Palestinians are now forced to live. “You had managed to melt millions of people and lump them into one lump, into a single thing you can now call ‘a case.’” And, he continues, “now that we are all ‘a case’” there is no personal attachment to any single person or story. How convenient. That is what allows for the ease with which the world treats the Palestinian tragedy. That is how the West can sell Israel the weapons and technology with which it slaughters Palestinians by the thousands and maintains the oppression.

One wonders what Kanafani would say about the horrific, large scale massacres endured by the people in Gaza since 2008. What would he say if he knew that since his death things have become worse now that Israel’s army of terror has access to more “modern” weapons that allow it to murder and maim thousands in a single “operation.” How would Kanafani react if he heard about entire families that were wiped out by mortars and missiles fired at them and others, incinerated by millions of tons of bombs dropped from war planes? One wonders what stories he might write about children burned and mutilated with such ease in the twenty first century? “We are a small, brave nation” Kanafani said in 1970, “who will fight to last drop of blood.”

Israel – the name that was given to the Zionist state which occupies Palestine – is indignant at the very mention of Palestine and at the idea that as a state it should respect the rights of Palestinians. People who support Israel are offended when they hear accusations of racism, indiscriminate violence and genocide. But these same people have no problem with the actual ongoing campaigns of genocide, ethnic cleansing and the reality of racist apartheid perpetuated by Israel. Because for them Palestine is not personal, it is just a “case,” just a “problem.” But Palestine is not a problem, it is personal, it has a beating heat, and that is why the fight for justice in Palestine is gaining momentum all over the world. As the Palestinian leader and political prisoner Marwan Barghouthi wrote recently from a cell in an Israeli jail, “The chains that bind us will break before our captors can break our resilience.”

 

#FREEABUSAKHA

Israel’s prisoner release: From one jail to another

Monday, 4 November 2013

The jubilation over Israel’s release last week of 26 Palestinian prisoners was understandable to an extent. After all, the issue is highly emotive for a people with thousands of loved ones languishing in Israeli jails, victims of a woefully unjust judicial system.

However, that must be tempered by the fact that Israel used the prisoner release as cover to announce 5,000 new settler homes on occupied territory, while Palestinian attention was diverted with celebrations. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described this as “an effort to ‘offset’ the release of Palestinian prisoners.” Indeed, 1,500 of these illegal homes were announced immediately after the release.

The cover may have even been used by the Palestinian Authority. While it has denied Israeli claims that it knew of the settlement announcement beforehand, the fact that it is still partaking in negotiations is highly suspect. So is the fact that almost three-quarters of those released (19 out of 26) are reportedly members of the Fatah party, which is led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Given that Israel has made a habit out of announcing further settlement expansion along with previous prisoner releases, the PA can hardly claim ignorance. The last such occasion was in August, when Israel released 26 prisoners while announcing plans for more than 2,000 new settler homes.

Israel portrays these releases as painful concessions, while the United States praises them as important confidence-building measures. “The decision to release the prisoners is one of the most difficult I’ve had to make,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week. This, of course, is blatant propaganda aimed at legitimizing settlement expansion as some kind of farcical balancing act or compensatory measure.

Releasing a handful of prisoners, all of them jailed before the 1993 Oslo Accord, while announcing thousands of new settler homes is clearly of far greater benefit to Israel than to the Palestinian people. However, it also benefits the PA, if only in the short term, despite the fact that it cannot be oblivious to Israel’s manipulations in this regard.

The PA uses the prisoner issue cynically, trying to boost its dwindling domestic popularity through such small-scale releases, and appeasing its Fatah support base by ensuring that most of those freed come from its ranks. This achieves quick, easy results, but in the grand scheme of things they are mere breadcrumbs. All the while, Israel arrests Palestinians at a far greater rate than those it releases.

Meanwhile, last week a top official with the Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization said the current Israeli negotiating position is the worst since before the Oslo Accord was signed 20 years ago. Yasser Abed Rabbo added that there had been “no tangible progress” in talks that resumed in July after a hiatus of nearly three years.

“They want… the borders of the state of Palestine [to] be set out according to Israeli security needs that never end, and that will undermine the possibility of establishing a sovereign Palestinian state,” said Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the PLO executive committee.

Fueling suspicions

Since the latest round of negotiations has been ongoing for months, why is the PA continuing to talk? This lends credence to suspicions that it is bowing to unreasonable conditions, and making concessions that it should not be making. Allegations that the secrecy surrounding the talks is precisely so that such concessions can be made without a public backlash are proving less and less outlandish.

After all, Israel has announced several thousand new settler homes since the talks began – the very antithesis of negotiating in good faith. The PA is simply accepting this by continuing to talk while its people’s lands are relentlessly colonized.

It is playing a dangerous and futile game. The PA cannot indefinitely make small gains to cover up much bigger losses. It also cannot forever dupe the Palestinian people into thinking that its unconditional, supine commitment to negotiations – with a party that has consistently shown its disdain for a genuine peace – is bearing fruit.

There are two further releases of 26 prisoners forthcoming. I will not be celebrating, because this will come at a price that the Palestinians cannot afford to pay, and with the shameful knowledge and acquiescence of their leaders.

Given that the occupation and colonization of Palestine is continuing unabated, releasing prisoners is not granting them freedom if they are simply moving to a larger (though ever-shrinking) jail under the same warden. The only thing worse than the denial of freedom is the illusion of it.

__________________________

Sharif Nashashibi, a regular contributor to Al Arabiya English, The Middle East magazine and the Guardian, is an award-winning journalist and frequent interviewee on Arab affairs. He is co-founder of Arab Media Watch, an independent, non-profit watchdog set up in 2000 to strive for objective coverage of Arab issues in the British media. With an MA in International Journalism from London’s City University, Nashashibi has worked and trained at Dow Jones Newswires, Reuters, the U.N. Development Programme in Palestine, the Middle East Broadcasting Centre, the Middle East Economic Survey in Cyprus, and the Middle East Times, among others. In 2008, he received the International Media Council’s “Breakaway Award,” given to promising new journalists, “for both facilitating and producing consistently balanced reporting on the highly emotive and polarized arena that is the Middle East.” He can be found on Twitter: @sharifnash

Israeli female soldiers break the silence

If videos turn out black  go straight to the Youtube link on the right side below

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See the whole collection of shovrim videos here

No visiting their father in Israeli prisons for these children

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